Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York lashed back at critics of his nursing home policy, and accused a fellow Democratic lawmaker of impropriety on Wednesday.
Criticisms of Governor Cuomo’s nursing home policies have surfaced over the past week as many have attributed the more than 15,000 nursing home deaths to his policies during the COVID-19 outbreak. Most notably, assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat of New York, has also voiced his criticisms of Cuomo’s handling of the nursing homes in regard to the pandemic. Cuomo’s initial response to the information surge on the nursing home timeline led many to doubt the validity of his position further. Kim, who was interviewed by the New York Post this past Thursday, told reporters that governor Cuomo was “trying to dodge incriminating evidence.”
Just hours after Kim’s interview with the New York Post, he recalled that the New York governor had called him late that evening and threatened to tarnish and destroy his reputation. Cuomo urged Kim to redact his statements and issue a new one, clarifying his position (New York Times). Cuomo doubled down on this rhetoric Wednesday afternoon, touting, “I’ve had, well, my office more than me, has had a long and hostile relationship with Assemblyman Ron Kim,” while referring to a bill from 2015 over nail salon workers’ rights (Politico). Cuomo continued, accusing Assemblyman Kim of a “continuing racket” soliciting donations from salon owners, in relation to the controversial 2015 bill.
All of this came in a press briefing, where the governor made accusations of alleged impropriety. The source of Cuomo’s enragement was the result of a letter signed by many Assembly members and published by the New York Post. In this letter, they outlined the delay of Governor Andrew Cuomo to release the full and transparent tally of nursing home deaths, and accused Cuomo of “intentional obstruction of justice” (The New York Times). “I believe it was unethical, if not illegal”, Cuomo stated, though Kim asserted that these remarks from the governor were nothing more than a “distraction” from the nursing home tragedy.
Since the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, New York has remained a hotspot for the spreading of the virus and ranks one of the highest in the nation in terms of deaths. Initially, Cuomo and his administration were reporting 8,500 deaths in the nursing homes statewide, though it is now known that the number was actually nearly double that, ranking at around 15,000 nursing home deaths. Cuomo is now facing claims of obstruction of justice and many have called for a full investigation into the governor’s handling of the nursing home patients since March of last year.
ARTICLE: ETHAN FINN
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AXIOS
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